Something annoying happened this week and while trying to get my mind straight, I Googled “how to stop fixating on the world’s most annoying situation,” and one positive suggestion was to make the frustration a teaching moment. Learn from it. Breathe. Take a walk. Journal. Whatever. Move on.
And I think that’s great advice, so I’m going to try to turn my mishap into a positive outcome and talk broadly here about how to be an attractive client so that the best agents want to work with and for you (and at the same time, do some mental sorting to help prevent a repeat of this week).
Here we go.
5 Simple Ways to Be an Attractive Real Estate Client
1. Be transparent.
Smart people should interview different agents, ask different questions, and then decide. They should have an exploratory phase and go with the agent who matches their style and interests best. All agents understand this (or should) and will not take offense to this situation. The only thing we ask from you is honesty. Let us know where you are in your research, when you are making your decision, and what stakeholders are involved. This is not only more fair to us, but it lets us serve you better and save time.
More to the point: I want your mom or dad on the phone too if your mom or dad is ultimately the decision maker. And don’t feel weird about that if you’re new to investing or home-buying. Your parents love you more than I do, they have your best interests in mind, and I totally get that. (My mom was a huge part of my first real estate buy.) I just need to know who all the players are.
2. Talk to a lender.
Talk to a lender. Talk to a lender. Talk to a lender. This is important for two reasons:
- I need to know what we’re shopping with here, and
- I want to know you’re serious enough to do some of the lifting on your own.
(Side note: Local lenders are better. National lenders are not as motivated to help you. It’s a volume game at the national level versus a quality game locally.)
3. Be up front about what’s important to you.
A good agent/professional can’t read your mind, but can and should meet the needs of their clients, so be direct with them about what you want. For instance, some of my clients want me to send them stuff that I think works for their numbers. Some of my clients just want to know what to pay. And some of my clients value prompt communication most. I’m happy to do whatever you prioritize—you’re my client. But I like knowing what you really value up front so that I can make that my focus.
4. Recognize commissions exist for a reason.
Cheapest isn’t always best. I definitely feel this way about my dentist, and I hope people feel that way about real estate agents. This is the biggest financial decision you’ll likely make in your life, so it’s reasonable to pay for a professional just as you would for any other service. (Also, when you think about it, a more experienced agent potentially will save you more than the cost of their commission because they get you a higher price on your place or bargain down the cost of what you are buying.)
5. Keep your cool.
A friend is considering hiring me and asked me what the most unpleasant experience was that I’d ever had with a client. (By the way, I thought this was a great question and something someone should definitely ask of any agent and maybe any professional they work with.)
The answer is that my own client hung up on me once, and I was pissed. Real estate deals involve a lot of emotions and a lot of money. It’s reasonable to feel vulnerable, stupid, or scared during some of it—but keep your cool. We are all in this together. We all want a win. And the best way to get that is to keep talking: to me, to the other side, to the professionals.
Well, I feel better. That was almost as satisfying as a half bottle of sauvignon blanc. In all seriousness, though, this is a two-way relationship. Clients are important, but to be successful with real estate, you need a good agent and a good client to get to the win.
Any tips you’d add to this list?
Weigh in with a comment!